This materialist reappraisal of ‘abject art’ locates Julia Kristeva’s concept of abjection (Kristeva, 1982) within the contradictory spheres of social and biological reproduction that are produced by capitalism. The article argues that abject art is inherently tied to the sphere of social reproduction and consequently it proliferates with economic recessions and downturns, when the sphere of social reproduction is squeezed, controlled or abandoned. Abject art is symptomatic of what Nancy Fraser (2017) describes as capitalism’s ‘crisis tendency,’ and therefore the article utilises Marxist Feminism (Federici, 2012; Fortunati, 1995) and Social Reproduction Theory (Bhattacharya, 2017) to draw out the political economic facets of abject art. In defence of abject art’s efficacy to respond to transforming regimes of capitalist accumulation, I develop a new lineage of abject art in three distinct historical periods. I begin with the 1960s Tokyo avant-garde in the work of Hi Red Centre and their abject proofing of Tokyo, and secondly address the 1970s in an Anglo-American context, with maintenance works by Barbara T. Smith and Mierle Laderman Ukeles. Finally, I reconsider the trauma and hedonism of the early 1990s in the work of Karen Finley and collaborators Bob Flanagan and Shree Rose. The article focuses on works that employ performance and the body to interrogate regimes of care, waste, the maternal and desire as facets of social reproduction. In doing so it reclaims abject art as an important aesthetic and political response that is capable of representing our ongoing crises of social reproduction under capitalism.